US Department of Education – Education Benefits

The US Department of Education, like many federal agencies, offers education benefits designed not only to provide financial assistance but to offer valuable experience. In many cases, these benefits are extended not only to agency employees, but to anyone who meets the qualifications.

Please note that qualification requirements for these benefits may change over time. Contact the agency directly with any questions or to apply.

 

Department of Commerce (DOC) Internship Program for Post-Secondary Students

WHAT IT IS: This internship program was established to offer students who have an interest in future DOC employment (or federal employment in general) the opportunity to gain valuable training and experience.

WHERE IT IS: Internships are, by and large, located in the Washington, D.C. metro area. There are also opportunities in various field locations.

HOW LONG IT LASTS: During the school year, internships will coincide with the students’ academic calendar. Summer internship sessions are ten consecutive weeks.

QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: The student must be a U.S. citizen enrolled in or accepted to an accredited degree program with a grade point average above 2.9.

TO APPLY: You must apply through the DOC’s five Postsecondary Internship Program partners listed on the DOC website. http://hr.commerce.gov/Careers/StudentCareerOpportunities/DEV01_005843

GOOD TO KNOW: DOC serves as the host Federal agency for the student interns; students may be assigned to work in Federal agencies other than DOC.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit http://hr.commerce.gov/index.htm

 

Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program

WHAT IT IS: Campus-based child care for children of low-income parents who are pursuing their post-secondary education.

QUALIFICATIONS/REQUIREMENTS: Low-income parent who is eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant.

HOW TO APPLY: Contact the child care facility at the education institution.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit http://www.ed.gov/programs/campisp/index.html or http://www.ed.gov/programs/campisp/contacts.html

 

Education Consolidation Loans

WHAT IT IS:  A loan to consolidate federal student loans into a single repayment plan. Most consolidation loans are either a Direct Consolidation Loan or a Federal Consolidation Loan.

WHO QUALIFIES: Most federal education loan borrowers will qualify.

TO APPLY: For a Direct Consolidation loan, contact the Loan Origination Center’s Consolidation Department at 1-800-557-7392. TTY users for the hearing impaired may call 1-800-557-7395. You can also apply online at https://loanconsolidation.ed.gov/AppEntry/apply-online/appindex.jsp.

Contact the consolidation department of a participating FFEL lender for a Federal Consolidation loan application or more information.

GOOD TO KNOW:  Private educational loans are not eligible for consolidation loans, and borrowers who are currently in default must meet additional requirements before they are eligible. There is no maximum loan amount, but the maximum repayment time is 30 years. You can get an estimate of your interest rate online at https://loanconsolidation.ed.gov/loancalc

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit: http://loanconsolidation.ed.gov/

 

Federal Pell Grants

WHAT IT IS: Need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain post-baccalaureate students. Grants are not loans, and are not required to be repaid.

WHO QUALIFIES: Students with financial need who have not received their first bachelor’s degree, or who are enrolled in graduate programs that lead to teacher certification or licensure.

TO APPLY:  Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order for your school to determine your actual financial aid package. Complete the form online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:     For general information about Federal student aid programs, or application help, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.  TTY users for the hearing impaired can call 1-800-730-8913.

GOOD TO KNOW: Students may not receive Federal Pell Grant funds from more than one school at a time.

 

Federal Perkins Loan Program

WHAT IT IS:  A fixed interest rate loan for undergraduate and graduate students in need, made by the school based on funding availability. The student has a nine-month grace period after graduation or when at least half-time enrollment ceases before beginning repayment.

QUALIFICATIONS/REQUIREMENTS: Students enrolled in a post-secondary educational degree or certification program qualify.

TO APPLY: Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at http://www.fafsa.ed.

GOOD TO KNOW: Borrowers who undertake certain public, military, or teaching service employment are eligible to have all or part of their loans canceled. The maximum undergraduate loan is up to $5,500/year ($27,500 total). Maximum graduate loan is up to $8,000/year ($60,000 including undergraduate loans). Maximum loan length is up to ten years, depending upon the amount owed.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243. TTY users for the hearing impaired can call 1-800-730-8913.

 

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)

WHAT IT IS: A grant for financially needy undergraduate students. Priority is given to students who receive Federal Pell Grants. The award, which is not required to be repaid, is made by the school based on funding availability.

QUALIFICATIONS/REQUIREMENTS:  Students who pursue a postsecondary educational degree or certificate may qualify.

TO APPLY: Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. Once the form has been completed, the school will advise the student how much financial aid they may receive.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Additional information about FSEOG can be found at   http://www2.ed.gov/programs/fseog/index.html. General information about Federal student aid and the FAFSA form can be obtained by calling 1-800-433-3243. TTY users for the hearing impaired can call: 1-800-730-8913

 

Federal Work-Study

WHAT IT IS:  Federal Work-Study is a program that funds employment for financially needy undergraduate and graduate students. The students can earn money to help pay education expenses while providing important community service work.

QUALIFICATIONS/REQUIREMENTS: Students pursuing a postsecondary educational degree or certificate qualify for this program.

TO APPLY: Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. The school will advise students of their eligible award amount for the academic year.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Federal Work-Study program information can be found at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/fws/index.html

For general information about FAFSA, call 1-800-433-3243. TTY users for the hearing may call 1-800-730-8913.

 

Fulbright-Hays – Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad

WHAT IT IS: A program designed to encourage and develop research capabilities in areas not typically included in U.S. college curricula. It offers financial support and opportunities for graduate students’ dissertation work abroad in foreign language and area studies.

QUALIFICATIONS/REQUIREMENTS:  To be considered for this benefit, applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Applicants must be a current or prospective doctoral student studying either modern foreign language studies or education.

TO APPLY: Speak with your academic department administrative assistant or research coordinator.

GOOD TO KNOW: Western European language studies may be exempt from benefits. Consult your academic department for more information.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit: http://www.ed.gov/programs/iegpsddrap/index.html

 

Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN)

WHAT IT IS: GAANN provides financial support by way of fellowships to graduate students with financial need who are pursuing a field of study that has been designated as an area of national need.

QUALIFICATIONS/REQUIREMENTS: Students may not apply for the grants directly; they must apply to their school.

TO APPLY: Students must demonstrate financial need and a plan to pursue the highest available degree in their field, and apply directly to their schools.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Visit http://www.ed.gov/programs/gaann/index.html

 

Jacob K. Javits Fellowships Program

WHAT IT IS: Financial awards to individuals studying the arts, humanities and social sciences who have demonstrated achievement, financial need, and exceptional promise. The award includes a stipend for personal expenses and a payment to the educational institution for up to 48 months or degree completion, whichever comes first.

QUALIFICATIONS/REQUIREMENTS: Students entering either a doctoral or master’s program are eligible to apply. Applicants must also be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.

TO APPLY: Competition opens each year in July.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit http://www.ed.gov/programs/jacobjavits/applicant.html, call 202-502-7542 or email OPE_Javits_Program@ed.gov

 

PLUS Parent Loans

WHAT IT IS: Loans to parents from either the U.S. Department of Education (Direct PLUS) or private lenders or agencies (Federal Family Education PLUS).

GOOD TO KNOW:  The determination of whether you receive a Direct or FFEL PLUS loan depends on your school’s participation. Schools apply PLUS loan funds toward the student’s tuition, fees and housing. Any remainder must be paid toward educational expenses (i.e., books, meal plan).

QUALIFICATIONS/REQUIREMENTS: Applicants must meet a number of requirements. Two primary requirements are that they must be a parent of a dependent postsecondary student enrolled in a degree program. They must also have a positive credit history.

TO APPLY: If your student’s school participates in the Direct Loan program, the applications will be available through the school financial aid office. FFEL PLUS loan applications will also be available through the participating school, a participating lender, or from your state’s guaranty agency.

GOOD TO KNOW: Fees are deducted each time a PLUS loan (either Direct or FFEL) is disbursed – typically up to four percent of the amount of the loan. Find out if your child qualifies for other grants or loans by having them complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is available on the Web as well as your local library or high school.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/parentloans.jsp

 

Stafford Loans for Students

WHAT IT IS: Low-interest loans made directly from the U.S. Department of Education for qualifying students to help cover undergraduate or graduate education.

QUALIFICATIONS/REQUIREMENTS: Minimum requirements include enrollment in a postsecondary education program. Additional requirements apply.

TO APPLY: Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. The school will advise students of their eligible award amount for the academic year.

GOOD TO KNOW: Stafford loans include subsidized and unsubsidized loans. A subsidized loan means that the federal government pays the loan’s interest while you attend school on at least a half-time basis. Subsidized loans are need-based awards. Unsubsidized loan is not awarded based on need, and you will be charged interest from disbursement until payoff. You may elect to defer interest payments while you attend school, but the interest accrued is added to your principal – which means you will pay interest based on a higher amount. Also: a fee of up to four percent of your loan is deducted from each disbursement.

 

TRIO Student Support Services

WHAT IT IS: Support services to low-income students, first generation college students, and disabled students enrolled in post-secondary education programs that includes personal and academic career counseling, career guidance, instruction, mentoring, and tutoring. This is not a financial benefit.

QUALIFICATIONS/REQUIREMENTS: Current or prospective students pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree who are either low income, first generation college student, or disabled.

TO APPLY: Contact TRIO student support services at http://www.ed.gov/programs/triostudsupp/applicant.html, call 202-502-7600 or email OPE_TRIO@ed.gov

 

TRIO Upward Bound

WHAT IT IS: Skill development and academic support for students between the ages of 13 and 19 (exceptions apply for children of war veterans) to help them successfully pursue higher education goals.

QUALIFICATIONS/REQUIREMENTS: In addition to the age requirements listed above, applicants must have completed 8th grade, need academic assistance, be either from a low-income family or a potential first-generation college student.

GOOD TO KNOW: Two-thirds of the students must be both low-income and potential first-generation college students. The remaining third must be either one or the other. Recommendations from local teachers, social workers, clergy, or concerned parties carry a large amount of weight with the selection team.

TO APPLY: Contact your high school guidance counselor.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Email OPE_TRIO@ed.gov or visit http://www.ed.gov/programs/trioupbound/index.html

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